Expanding your wardrobe with a 2 piece dress

Having fun at the APW 30th Anniversary Party

The inspiration for this post came from the two piece dress I recently bought for the APW 30th Anniversary party I helped host on June 25. The moment I saw the 2 pieces hanging in the fitting room, (a salesperson found them for me…for once!) I instantly began to see the many, many possibilities for both the top and bottom. Then when I tried the two pieces on together as a dress, I was absolutely thrilled!

First off, this Nicole Miller “dress” is pure genius! You simply can’t tell it’s a dress when it’s on and adjusted properly. (It’s necessary to line up the zippers in the back.) And I’ll admit I had so much fun showing my friends at the party that indeed it was 2 pieces and not a “dress”!

What excites me the most about being able to mix and match the top and skirt is that the cost per wear of the “dress” goes way down! I wish I did, but I just don’t have that many occasions to wear a cocktail dress. Of course, I’ll be able to wear it as a dress for years to come, but I’ll get so much more good out of the pieces being able to wear them for my lifestyle!

You’ll easily be able to see that these would be great pieces to pack for a trip, very different from what I packed for my trip to wine country.

One big, important thing for you to know…I’m a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant. I am NOT a professional model or fashion blogger! (And this blog isn’t suddenly going to become a bunch of “what I wore” posts.) And I didn’t have a professional photographer…just my beloved husband! I didn’t even use a real camera, just my phone.

Okay, enough prefacing…Here is the two-piece dress from the front and the back.

coral dress front

coral dress back

You can’t tell it’s not a dress, right? Coral is one of my favorite colors, so I have tons to go with the two pieces!

One of the basic tenets of creating a wardrobe capsule or cluster is to choose a color scheme. You’ll see in the next few photos, my color scheme is coral, white and tan.

Because the top is so brilliantly designed, once I pop the tan silk and linen jacket over it, and change my shoes the outfit transforms from cocktail to business. (Keep in mind that this is my personal style, not necessarily yours. Be thinking of what is in your closet you could use to create these kinds of looks.)

coral dress with jacket

Next, I lost the matching top and added an Elie Tahari blouse I’ve owned for at least 3 years! Note: I’m short waisted, so tucking a blouse into a high waisted skirt isn’t my best look. It was crucial to blouse the top out quite a bit, and then I added a belt to bring the waist line back down just a little.

coral skirt blouse

While the skirt and blouse are great for business casual, I’d want to put the jacket on for an important meeting. I’ve had the tan jacket for 3 years, too! (I know it doesn’t look like it, but these are actually 3 inch heels. Somehow the angle makes them look like house shoes!)

Coral skirt blouse jacket

As I mentioned earlier, a tucked in blouse isn’t all that flattering for me, but the above photo proves the magic of a jacket. Not only is it professional, but now, the attention has shifted from my personal silhouette to the silhouette of the jacket…looking a bit slimmer.

To cover up in a more casual way, I can wear this linen knit “cardigan” which is actually a little more of a t-shirt than a sweater. Unlike woven linen, knit linen like this travels really well and I usually carry it around in my big tote bag you see in the post talking about pants. It still works for business casual, but is considerably more casual than the jacket…definitely not as polished.

coral skirt blouse cardi

So far, you’ve seen an outfit appropriate for cocktail, 2 for business and 2 more for business casual, all with the same skirt! Now, for something completely different, casual! I was wearing the gladiator flats the day I shopped, and had them on when I tried on the skirt. I NEVER, repeat never, wear flats with pencil skirts–just not my thing, but I immediately loved the look of the skirt and flats!

This white Splendid t-shirt is one of my favorites! (I only drink white wine when I wear it!) The reason it works with the skirt is it follows the design principle of “loose over tight.” Another reason it works for my personal style is that I love the juxtaposition of casual with dressy. Although there’s no real formula to follow, you’ll see the skirt, crystal necklace and patent clutch are dressy; the t-shirt and shoes are casual. I wore this outfit to a casual party a couple of nights ago–so comfy!!

coral skirt splendid t

Although I don’t have any business travel plans for the summer, can you see how these pieces would work for a multi-day business trip? I also simply love the fact that I can get so many different kinds of looks with a “basic” skirt as my base!

When I work with my clients, I strive to find pieces that will be every bit as versatile as these. As my banner above reads, my mission is to help professional women create easy, mix and match wardrobes that fit well, flatter helping you to feel confident all day long!

This is just the start! In my next post, you’ll see the same pieces mixed and matched with pants to create even more looks. Then I’ll create a post about the accessories I chose. Til then!

Before You Go…

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2 comments on “Expanding your wardrobe with a 2 piece dress

    1. Thanks, Peggy! I just now saw your comment. It was fun to do! The best part of it all was that I had such a blast at the party!

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